We have a deep love of Lafayette, Louisiana but truth be told we’ve done little more than explore the boudin parlors of the region.

Floppy Hats Are Fashionable At Festival International

Floppy Hats Are Fashionable At Festival International

We’ve never spent anytime in the city on a ramble, chatting with the citizenry, taking photos, listening to music or otherwise engaging the culture.

Hot Brass In Lafayette

Hot Brass In Lafayette

After all, we’re only in it for the boudin.

Wistful At Festival International

Wistful At Festival International

This past weekend we put paid to our wide range of offenses by spending an entire day at Festival International, the sprawling music party that takes over Lafayette’s entire downtown to show New Orleans how to party, at least one weekend per year.

Festival International's Children Looked Like Wild Animals

Festival International’s Children Looked Like Wild Animals

There were tens of thousands of people on the stroll, eating, guzzling cans of beer, sitting in Coleman chairs, dancing to zydeco, smoking, and socializing with one another at what felt like the biggest outdoor party in the history of Louisiana.

The Eating At Festival International Turned Primal

The Eating At Festival International Turned Primal

Sorry Jazz Fest.

Ladies In Wigs Were In Abundance At Festival International

Ladies In Wigs Were In Abundance At Festival International

We rolled in bright and early, parked at Cajun Field and hopped on a shuttle bus to be deposited one block from the Festival a mere five minutes later.

Festival International 2015

Festival International 2015

We immediately chasten a police officer to point us towards the food as we are famished and need sustenance before life fades from our bones.

Food Vendor Hard At Work At Festival International

Food Vendor Hard At Work At Festival International

Polk Street has been turned into an ad hoc food court as dozens of vendors have set up booths stocked with Fried Oysters, Boudin Balls, Cajun Fried Chicken On A Stick, Sno Balls, Alligator Kebabs, Meat Pies, Bacon Cheese Burgers, Sausage Po Boys, Crawfish Etouffe, Fried Catfish Platters, Frog Legs, Shrimp And Grits, Red Beans And Rice, Spinach Boats, Pork Nachos and a host of other carnival food delicacies.

New Orleans Brass Cats At Festival International

New Orleans Brass Cats At Festival International

Orgy time.

Meat Pie At Festival International

Meat Pie At Festival International

After a char-grilled oyster starter we get on the hotfoot to take in some sights and sounds before inevitably circling back to Polk Street for more chow.

Belly Dancer At Festival International

Belly Dancer At Festival International

This goes on for hours: Eat a modest amount of food, circle through the vast festival grounds taking pictures and talking to strangers, then head straight back to Polk Street to start the whole thing again.

2015 Festival International

2015 Festival International

A Cajun circle of life.

Naturally Photogenic

Naturally Photogenic

Halfway through the day we get the dropsies and need some air conditioning post haste. We stop a nice policeman and ask where he would go if wanted a cold beer to cool off and he recommends Prime, a nearby watering hole.

Elderly White Lady Partying At Festival International

Elderly White Lady Partying At Festival International

Prime is a mite thuggish and odd but it serves its purpose of providing cold refreshment. A group of neighborhood toughs are parked at the bar recounting their exploits of the previous evening and they provide some crude entertainment.

Striking

Striking

Leaving Prime we ask another officer if there’s a good tavern where we might enjoy a dram or two and he recommends Antlers, an old bar that is coming up on a century of operation.

Awww

Awww

We purchase a meat pie from the concern’s sidewalk operation and step into the gloaming recesses of the establishment where a group of drinkers are hollering and laughing their heads off.

This Young Gentleman Has Perfected His Gangsta Lean

This Young Gentleman Has Perfected His Gangsta Lean

Our people.

Relaxing At Festival International

Relaxing At Festival International

Antlers is fine, the folks are friendly and the beer is cold and cheap.

Got Lucky

Got Lucky

After a good 20 minute hang we make our way outside to see about finding a live band to dance to.

Casting A Wary Eye

Casting A Wary Eye

While it’s true that our vinyl collection has grown so large that it’s no longer countable, we no longer view our lives through the lens of music.

Lafayette Beauty

Lafayette Beauty

Gone are the days when we evangelized to coax people into going out to see shows seven nights a week.

A Muslim Lady Enjoying Festival International

A Muslim Lady Enjoying Festival International

We still go, we just no longer care if anyone else is there.

Navigating Festival International Via Bicycle

Navigating Festival International Via Bicycle

But then you hear a band like Dakhabrakha from the Ukraine and all bets are off.

White Girl At Festival International

White Girl At Festival International

We saw countless acts perform at Festival International and Dakhabrakha were easily the finest.

Our Future

Our Future

Urgent. Primal. Sexed up. Confusing. Plaintive. Overdriven.

Creole Girl At Festival International

Creole Girl At Festival International

If we were still music evangelicals we would gladly climb to the mountaintop for Dakhabrakha.DSC03244

After a full day of rich foods and hot music we bade farewell to Lafayette.

Young Men With Their Horns

Young Men With Their Horns

We had the time of our lives but we had to make Youngsville’s NuNu’s Meat Market before they closed for the day.

People Strode The Streets Of Lafayette With Beers In Hand

People Strode The Streets Of Lafayette With Beers In Hand

We had spent an entire day in Acadiana and not had one bite of boudin.

Big Fashion

Big Fashion

After a long hard weekend in Texas we needed to welcome senior scribe RL Reeves Jr back into the fold of his beloved New Orleans in high fashion.

Bywater Daily Photo

Bywater Daily Photo

Time for a crab boil.

We took a flyer over to the Westwego Shrimp Lot, loaded the Econoline up with four dozen crabs and came back to the Scrumptious House to build a fire under the hot pot in the back courtyard.

Pictured: Louisiana Boiled Crabs turned out onto a butcher paper clad pic nic table.

We made a quick run up to the garden spot of Tangipahoa Parish: Ponchatoula,for the 44th edition of the Strawberry Festival this past weekend. It was beautiful.

Abby Earles, Louisiana Queen Of Queens

Abby Earles, Louisiana Queen Of Queens

Rolling into town we immediately notice groups of locals frantically waving flashlights and placards in an effort to coax attendees into parking in their driveways and side yards. $10 per car.

Bea's French Bakery In Ponchatoula

Bea’s French Bakery In Ponchatoula

Big city pricing.

Abandoned Building In Ponchatoula

Abandoned Building In Ponchatoula

We’re flat starving so we race into the first storefront we spy. Bea’s French Bakery is right on the main drag; unfortunately the display cases are almost wiped out. We manage to snag a strawberry lemonade cupcake and begin to promenade down the sidewalk to see what the locals are up to in these parts.

Abby Earles Is The Queen Of Queens

Abby Earles Is The Queen Of Queens

Selling stuff, mainly strawberries.

Old Foks Hanging Out In Ponchatoula

Old Foks Hanging Out In Ponchatoula

Squalls are heading into the area so we quick march our way through the party, stopping occasionally to wolf down fried catfish po boys, cracklins, biscuits, and all manners of strawberry ephemera.

Ponchatoula Cracklins

Ponchatoula Cracklins

The Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival is enormous. A kindly local explains that it’s the 2nd largest festival in Louisiana right behind New Orleans Jazz Fest. The grounds go on and on, swallowing up city streets, small parks, lawns, avenues and roadways. If you wanted to do it right you’d have to allot an entire day.

An Itinerant Fry Cook In Ponchatoula

An Itinerant Fry Cook In Ponchatoula

We’re swept along with all the camaraderie from the friendly country people but then out of the blue a beauty comes strolling down a dirt path wearing a giant strawberry tiara. It’s Abby Earles, the 2015 Ponchatoula Strawberry Queen. We immediately beg for an impromptu photo shoot and the queen acquiesces to her subjects. Ms Earles informs us that not only is she the Strawberry Queen but she’s also Louisiana’s Queen Of Queens.

Ponchatoula Strawberries

Ponchatoula Strawberries

Earles recently competed against all the Queens of the great state of Louisiana and when the dust had settled she emerged with the title Queen Of Queens.

Abby Earles

Abby Earles

That means she beat the Andouille Queen, the Jambalaya Queen, The Gumbo Queen and a host of other queens of certain pulchritude.

Cute Li'l Donkey

Cute Li’l Donkey

We’ve said it before and it bears mentioning again. The most beautiful women in all of USA live right here in Louisiana.

Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival

Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival

We say our goodbyes to Ms Earles and wish her further success.DSC02691

At this point we realize the party has met its peak. We continue meandering along, buy some Mayhaw jam from a nice elderly lady, circuit our way through the freak shows (World’s Largest Display Of 2 Headed Turtles!)and slowly make our way back to the Econoline.

Freak Show In Ponchatoula

Freak Show In Ponchatoula

There is nothing we’d rather do than drive out of New Orleans to little country towns on the prairies and bayous of Louisiana.

Crawfish Boil In Ponchatoula

Crawfish Boil In Ponchatoula

The townfolk are always so nice and the food is invariably fried and salted with the kind of rural abandon that you just don’t find in the big city.DSC02751

After a dismal meal of breakfast tacos at Pagoda Cafe we returned home and immediately busied ourselves in the kitchen to get that awful taste out of our mouths.

The Best Breakfast Tacos In New Orleans

The Best Breakfast Tacos In New Orleans

15 minutes later the Scrumptious crew were tacking into the best breakfast tacos in New Orleans.

When we lived in the land of plenty (Austin, Texas) we wore the crown of Kings Of The Breakfast Taco there too.

Care to experience the best breakfast tacos in New Orleans? Hit that contact button and we may be able to make your dream come true.

We’ve made thousands of breakfast tacos over the years, perhaps none more stately than our reinvention of the most famous taco in Austin, Texas: The Don Juan at Juan In A Million http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/2011/10/07/reinventing-the-don-juan-breakfast-taco-at-juan-in-a-million-scrumptiouschef-tackles-the-classic/